Inspiring the Next Generation Through Song

Rabbi's Message - April 19, 2022

 

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

My most formative Jewish moments have been with Dan Nichols.  At Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, Indiana, Dan was a legend even before he reached legendary status.  He was the most sought after “lights out” program, serenading young campers to sleep with his guitar as they listened to him sing Harry Chapin songs and sang the evening Shema.  Dan has always been full of joy, kindness, inspiration, and enthusiasm, and he set the bar for Jewish music.  While Dan says that he, himself, “is a product of Jewish summer camping,” Dan has also been a catalyst for the next generation of campers who are discovering their own love of Judaism through his music.  The joy I feel when I see our campers, including my own children, go a bit crazy singing and dancing to Dan’s uplifting song sessions is indescribable.  I guess you will have to experience it yourself!

 
Dan will be with us this Shabbat, joining us on our (newly renovated) bimah followed by a Post-Passover Pizza Party and concert.  Dan’s liturgical and contemporary Jewish music spans generations and the talent he brings is truly a gift to us all.  Young or old, you will not want to miss this.  Dan is classically trained singer.  He has a background in opera and has experience as a cantorial soloist.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of North Carolina. Then, in 1995, Dan realized the potential of music to make powerful connections with Jewish youth and established the Jewish rock band Eighteen. Since that time, Dan and Eighteen have released 13 albums and several of his songs have become Jewish communal anthems throughout North America.  
 
Dan has an impressive amount of experience.  He has toured over 190 days a year for the last 20 years, where he often serves as artist-in-residence and teacher for congregations and camp communities. He has served on the faculty of Hava Nashira since 2001. In 2009 he co-founded Shulhouse Rock, a songleading workshop for Jewish high-school students. He has performed live in Israel at the historic fortress of Masada and in the studio for the groundbreaking XM Radio presentation of Radio Hanukkah. In addition to these highlights, Dan has been featured at conferences and conventions of nearly every major Jewish movement, including the URJ Biennial, NFTY Convention, BBYO International, Limmud and the Wexner Heritage Program. 
 
In addition to his musical talent, Dan is a creative story teller who is deeply dedicated to tikkun olam.  He created the "Road to Eden Deep South Sukkot Tour" to bring the message of Sukkot to communities in the southern United States, where he and his band played 11 shows in 10 days.  Their experiences are captured in the documentary film, Road to Eden.
 
Get a taste of Dan’s heartfelt music and learn more about his successful career:
 
Watch videos of Dan sharing his powerful, soulful Jewish music with the world:
 

Planning for Warmer and Sunnier Days Ahead

Planning for Warmer and Sunnier Days Ahead

Rabbi’s Message – December 8, 2020

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

This past Sunday our Religious School was joined by URJ camp directors from GUCI and Six Points specialty camps.  Our URJ camping experts have been hard at work creating safe ways to bring our children back to our Jewish camps.  From my personal experiences as well as from those of families I have guided toward camp over the last 20 years, I know that our URJ camps offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our children to live and love Judaism. 

Because it is hard for us to know what things will look like six months from now, GUCI is offering a bright opportunity for us during this time of Chanukkah.  During these 8 days, parents can save a space for their child at summer camp for only $8.  It is a low-risk deposit that will open up the door to years of growth and lifelong friendships. 

I know that camp is expensive and that the price of the deposit does not cover the fees for the actual program.  Please do not let this deter you from exploring the possibilities.  Both camp and Temple offer camperships and we will do all that we can to try to make camp possible.  Especially this year.   I believe it is all the more important that children who have been isolated over the last several months be given the opportunity to thrive in a safe environment with other children.  I have spent time talking with Jeremy Klotz, the GUCI camp director, who has a background in law (especially risk management!) and I am confident that he will provide a unique and positive camp program with as safe and virus-free an environment as is possible.

If you have any interest in sending your child to camp in 2021, take advantage of this $8 deposit and fill out your application immediately, as spaces are limited.  Wishing us all a bright and blessing-filled Chanukkah.